Revisit Khageswar Rout’s Work as Part of Mumbai Gallery Weekend 2020

3 months ago

Mumbai Gallery Weekend 2020 is underway. It’s only fitting that we’re buzzing with artistic energy this full moon friday. Head to the galleries for meditative perspectives and a mingle with the most creative minds in the country. To navigate the art map, read about our picks here. This year, we’re collaborating with Project 88 to showcase up and coming sculptor Khageswar Rout who had a chat with us on his life, his work and his muse.


Did you always envision yourself as an artist? 

KR: I grew up in Odisha, in the village, Bhadrak. My brother is an artist, I’d watch him sketch. He was in boarding school so that was my connection to him. I did all my training and then realised I was most drawn to clay. The physical feeling I wanted to capture, I think I capture in clay. I eventually did my post graduation in 2016 from Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata where I pursued my research. I now teach there.


What motivates your art? What does your process look like?

KR: I have always been interested in the natural environment because that’s what I grew up around. I think of an interrogation, something I need to uncover or draw from. I have studied botanists, artists and the plants around me and then tried to capture the beauty I see in it. When I first started cooking myself, I bought some pea pods, a few days later, they popped open and burst. That transformation was a shock to me but a beautiful shock. This is what I draw from, the feeling of beauty. Even in its imperfections, even if I make a mistake, nature can never be anything less than perfect.


Can you tell us a little bit about the “Beneath the Bark” that you’re showcasing with us?

KR: All beauty exists in nature, man draws from nature. I will look at the architectural form of say a tree, and then deconstruct it. How does the hardness compare to when this tree was a new born sampling? It’s very difficult to capture in clay because clay is a hard form. I will look at something and then try uncover it’s layers and capture that in clay. Art is a feeling, and depending on the other everyday things happening in my life, the feeling subconsciously translates in my work.


Kagheswar Rout at 27, has been recognised as a promising young sculptor through awards by significant platforms of arts. He has represented Project 88, Mumbai in Frieze, London, 2018. Galarie 88, Kolkata organised his solo exhibition in 2016. He has also participated in group shows. In my conversation with him, his wisdom, knowledge, curiosity and commitment to his art was humbling to see. To all the young artists out there he says, stay curious, keep learning and to us as spectators and fellow humans, he teaches that Nature is the master. All the knowledge we need already exists. In times of a global climate crisis, the simple idea of respect and curiosity of the natural world is a powerful sentiment that we need to build if we are to save our planet. Check out Rout’s immortalized translation of the humble tree in delicate terracotta, bronze and glass.